Chiropractor charged with falsely billing for procedure learned via YouTube
HOUSTON – A 46-year-old local chiropractor and her medical group have been named in a civil suit under the False Claims Act alleging fraudulent billing, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Suhyun An owns and manages Campbell Medical Group PLLC and Johnson Medical Group PLLC dba Campbell Medical Clinic in the Spring Valley area of Houston.
The civil complaint, filed today, alleges An fraudulently obtained over $3.9 million from the Medicare and TRICARE programs by billing for the implantation of neurostimulator electrodes. These are surgical procedures usually requiring use of an operating room, and Medicare pays thousands of dollars for this procedure, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that neither An nor her clinic’s employees performed surgery. Instead, they allegedly applied inexpensive devices used for electro-acupuncture. This procedure involves inserting needles into patients’ ears with a neurostimulator taped behind the ears with an adhesive, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit alleges nurse practitioners working for An learned how to apply the devices by watching YouTube videos and participating in trainings with sales representatives.
The complaint alleges An knew the devices were not billable or recklessly disregarded that fact. She allegedly read specific guidance from a Medicare contractor stating Medicare did not cover the devices because they only provided acupuncture. The suit further claims she ignored emailed warnings from employees and outside billing companies including warnings that the devices were being labeled as “possible fraud.”
The Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General and Defense Criminal Investigative Services assisted with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Gray is handling the matter.
The claims are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.